Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Our American Privilege

It will be fun.  It will be a privilege.  It will be another proud moment. 

I love voting day. 

Shortly after 8 a.m. today, Bill and I will put the doggies in the garage and, of course, announce to them that we'll be back in a while.

As we go out the door, we'll be packing---our ID's, that is. 

We'll climb into one of the pickups, head out the driveway, turn left on South Center Valley Road, turn right on Center Valley Road, turn left on North Center Valley Road and finally right onto Colburn-Culver----all the while hoping to avoid any more deer encounters.

The Colburn Culver drive of about two miles will take us through wide open fields, down a hill, across the railroad tracks, over beautiful Pack River and then through a series of small farms until we reach the Northside Christian Fellowship Church.

We won't be the first to pull into the lot.  Longtime election workers, like our next door neighbor Mary Taylor, will have arrived well ahead of us, in time to set up and then sit in their official spots with their booklets of names and addresses and little dishes with numbers.

After the usual friendly neighborhood greetings, we'll get checked off. Someone will hand us a ballot and give us some brief procedural instructions.

Then, we'll walk into our respective polling booths, read each choice carefully and clearly mark X's in boxes.  

Bill may write in Tim Cochran for something, and I may vote for my confidante and blog editor Helen Newton, who's not on the ballot.  We never really know until we walk inside that booth if we're going to use the write-in option. 

That information is about all we share with each other about how we've voted.  I guess we just assume and hope that the other spouse is going to make all the right decisions. 

We'll slip the ballots back into their holders, leave the booth, point the holder into a slot at a big metal box and let the ballot slide in.  Someone---maybe Carla Poelstra Bonner County's last dairy on East Shingle Mill Road----will announce "Bill Love has voted" and "Marianne Love has voted."

More brief banter, a quick reach for a chocolate kiss in the candy bowl and out the door we'll go, saying hello to whomever we happen to meet in the parking lot. 

Then, we'll drive home, hoping once again to avoid any deer incidents.  Once we reach the driveway, we'll greet the dogs waiting for us inside the garage door, start the rest of our day and begin the waiting game. 

On this day, Bill will be greeting Norm, the chimney sweep, while I attend to other projects in or around town. Later, I'll come home and try to finish my barn-stall project of cutting pieces from rubber mats so the mats will fit around the 4 by 4 beams.

I'll probably pick up some more leaves and play with dogs while anxiously waiting for the hours to go by before plopping myself in front of the TV to remain transfixed ('cept for potty and food breaks) taking in every detail and every nuance in the national results. 

These days I like to keep my cell phone or laptop handy to read comments in Twitter and on Facebook while listening to the TV action. 

When it seems that my exhausted brain has been overloaded with election trivia and headlines, I'll get ready for bed and keep checking my upstairs computer for Bonner County Election Central results. 

Bill usually takes a laid-back, less addictive approach to election-night coverage, more than likely accepting the fact that Marianne rules the TV set on this night.  He'll probably spend part of the evening in another room tying flies but happy to hear any major results. 

I'm an admitted political and news junkie who views national election night coverage with the same fervor as any ZAGS basketball game.  

I can admit now admit as a retiree that one year, when I was still teaching and so determined to view the full meal deal of election night coverage, that a minor sniffle instantly turned in to an all-out miserable "cold in my node" so I could stay up late, watch election results and call in sick the next day. 

In my mind, Election Day and/or the day after ought to be holidays in this country for a variety of reasons. Our elections have changed, though, and 40 million Americans have already voted, so I don't think our Congress, which, it seems, never can agree on anything, would ever vote that idea in. 

I love the ritual of our voting process, especially the part with its neighborhood flavor.  

I also love the anticipation of this day, and, like most Americans, I'm feeling relieved that we have finally arrived to this point where we exercise our privilege and then hope for the best possible outcome. 

"Best possible outcomes" certainly differ as American perspectives go, but I believe that the very best possible outcome----regardless of whose X's top the charts---would be that we could all accept the results responsibly and move on to demonstrate America at its best. 

Happy Election Day!  

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